An Equation for Every Occasion

An Equation for Every Occasion

Fifty-two Formulas and Why They Matter

eBook - 2014
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Mathematics is all around us if only we knew where to look. Much more than a compendium of stories for mathematical geeks (although it is that), this slim volume introduces mathematics in everyday life for those who do not know it or who are wondering of what use can their knowledge of algebra, geometry, or calculus ever be, or for those who knew it and forgot it, or became distracted by its more esoteric applications. These 52 stories each concentrate on some specific equation and its significance in human history, art, and endeavor. Archimedean geometry, Ponzi schemes, placebo effects, IQ distributions, disasters, infinities, and the population of the Woodstock nation all make their appearances. Throughout the author makes an effort to demonstrate how these equations--some quite simple, some more advanced--connect with the larger Universe. He provides context, both mathematical and social, for them, and each chapter is a little window into reality and is both entertaining and educational. Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Johns Hopkins University Press

With this fun romp through the world of equations we encounter in our everyday lives, you’ll find yourself flipping through the stories of fifty-two formulas faster than a deck of cards. John M. Henshaw’s intriguing true accounts, each inspired by a different mathematical equation, are both succinct and easy to read. His tales come from the spheres of sports, business, history, the arts, science, and technology. Anecdotes about famous equations, like E=mc2, appear alongside tales of not-so-famous—but equally fascinating—equations, such as the one used to determine the SPF number for sunscreen.

Drawn from the breadth of human endeavor, Henshaw's stories demonstrate the power and utility of math. He entertains us by exploring the ways that equations can be used to explain, among other things, Ponzi schemes, the placebo effect, "dog years," IQ, the wave mechanics of tsunamis, the troubled modern beekeeping industry, and the Challenger disaster. Smartly conceived and fast paced, his book offers something for anyone curious about math and its impacts.

Publisher: Baltimore, Maryland : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014
ISBN: 9781421414928
Characteristics: 1 online resource (x, 187 p.)
Additional Contributors: Lewis, Steven 1989-

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